Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Authored an Electronic Finding Aid!

Look at me!!!  My finding aid for the Public Information Officer Records of the Seattle Fire Department is an EAD (Encoded Archival Description) on the Northwest Digital Archives website!  See for yourself, kids.  Naturally, as I look at it I see all kinds of things that probably could have been done better (and it was the first big collection that I processed) but the City Archivist has to OK all EADs and he wouldn't have given the go ahead if it weren't SMA (Seattle Municipal Archives) worthy.

Last few days have been a severe Ryan Adams kick.  Over and over and over again with the tunes.  He's prolific, so it took me a couple of  days to get through everything that I have uploaded to iTunes. The whole of today, since getting home from my internship and after my run, I've been listening to these gems in various shuffled order:

Anybody Wanna Take Me Home
Crossed Out Name
Harder Now That It's Over
How Do You Keep Love Alive
Blue Hotel
Dear John (Live in Studio)
My Winding Wheel
Hard Way to Fall
When Will You Come Back Home?
Sweet Illusions
Please Do Not Let Me Go
Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.
If I am a Stranger (Live in Studio)
Magnolia Mountain
The Hardest Part
Monday Night
My Heart is Broken
Oh My Sweet Carolina
These Girls
Starlite Diner
Down in a Hole
Born into a Light
If I am a Stranger
La Cienga Just Smiled
When the Stars go Blue
Let it Ride
Cold Roses
Come Pick Me Up
Dear John
Now that You're Gone

I sense a theme... (sweet melancholy, slightly to very lonely, longing, etc., in case you're unfamiliar with the R. A. catalogue.)  Can't wait for the metal album.  Seriously.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Furniture and The National?

The National have a new album coming out in May, and there was a free download of one song a couple of weeks ago.  This is a band that for whatever magical reason when I hear them my chest tightens and I feel a sort of panicky need or urgency to bury myself in the the music, to cover myself, to roll into the fetal position and stay there until I've reached saturation.  I'm not explaining it well, and it is such a strange feeling.  I am so disappointed that their spring tour will take them not to Seattle, but to the Sasquatch Music Festival out at the Gorge.  I don't want to go to the Gorge (and as of this morning, I guess the whole weekend is sold out because the line up is SO DAMN GOOD!) because it's 1) a looooong drive and I don't have a car, 2) a festival type atmosphere with lots of sweaty, drunken, annoying bodies bumping into me and standing taller than i am so I can't see anything anyway, 3) difficult to arrange a sleeping situation because you have to get a permit to camp or pay for a hotel somewhere in the vicinity and 4) I just don't like those kind of big crowd shows.  I don't even go to Bumbershoot anymore because it's so claustrophobic crowded feeling.  Still, I am eagerly awaiting the new release and recently made a discovery regarding a possible influence even though it may not be connected, at all, to this band.

A Connection?  I've been watching Some Kind of Wonderful--a favorite since it's release waaaaay back in 1987--late at night as I fall asleep.  (It takes me weeks to get through a movie because I generally only am awake for about 10 minutes before it is snooze city, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...  I love the "sleep" function on my t.v. remote...sigh...) I used to have the soundtrack, which I loved and listened to over and over again when I was in Jr. High School.  One song, in particular, has stuck out as sounding very National-like, though it would be more appropriate to say that The National sounds very Furniture-like as can be heard in their song "Brilliant Mind."  Who knows if there really is a connection, but sonically speaking it sure seems like one exists.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I went.  It was chill.  I sat upstairs where the dj spun his magic and read.  I liked.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


There are many activities that I truly enjoy indulging in solo.

1. Live Music
2. Movies
3. Shopping
4. Library Visits
5. Bookstore Browsing
6. Coffee Shop Sitting
7. Eating Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Out
8. Record Shopping
9. Going to a Museum/Gallery

There are some activites that I don't mind participating in solo, even though a buddy would be a great addition.  (Some of these activities may appear on more than one list..)

1. Eating Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Out
2. Movies
3. An Evening Cocktail at a Cozy Watering Hole
4. Going to a Party

And some activities are rarely done without at least one friend accompanying me.

1. Going Dancing (This one absolutely requires a buddy.)
2. Going to a Party-- Especially When I Don't Know Anyone
3. Going to Some Watering Holes

I am contemplating going to a gallery/bar tonight that has started hosting djs on Sunday evenings who just spin records.  No dancing, no raucous crowds.  A barista pal suggested I go sometime (he is one of the djs next month) because it's just a big, chill listening party and very fun.  I was thinking about taking my Records Management reading and heading over there after I eat some dinner... but I feel a little like this is the kind of activity that would be better with a friend.  Only I don't have a friend that I can ask to go with me.  I have friends, for heaven's sake!  It's just that they're mostly attached and it's a school night and they're not likely to want to wend their way over to the Hill just to sit at a gallery/bar to listen to records with me.  Should I stay or should I go?  I will probably go, or at least do a walk-by.  A part of me feels like this is precisely the kind of activity that I should be indulging in if only, potentially, to make the acquaintance of some other folks who like to stay out past 10pm.  Maybe I'd even see people I kind of know already... maybe my barista pal.

A few weekends ago, I met some girlfriends for a little Emerald City Soul Club festivities (after the opera and in high heels and a late 50's vintage cocktail dress no less!!) and ran into (danced into?) a friend of mine on the dance floor.  He came alone!!  To a dance club!!  I was very impressed, maybe a little in awe, too, and told him so.  He said that he always winds up seeing people he knows so he doesn't feel like he's there alone.  Wow.  I wouldn't have that confidence.  I don't.  No way.

The shield of reading material is always helpful in solo situations, and that's a big reason why the activities that I enjoy on my own never feel awkward.  (Yes.  I am that girl at the bar, trying to read in poor lighting.  But I don't mind...)  It's the new territory that makes me nervous.  Last night I really wanted to attend another soul night, but couldn't find anyone who wanted to go with me.  It just wouldn't do to bring my New Yorker with me on the dance floor.  And at a club, even one where the majority of folks are really there to dance there asses off and just have good ole' fashioned fun, having a buddy is, to me, smart.

So.  Will I go to the gallery and see what's what?  Yes.  I've decided to brave the unknown.  Will I stick around?  Hard to say.  All depends on the vibe.  If it feels like the sort of place that I can easily pull up a chair or cushion or bar stool, open my book, order my beer/tea/soda/whatever and relax, then I'll stay.  If it's too crazy and I feel completely out of place, I'm leaving--after I look at the art.

On the turn table: The Honey Drippers: Volume One ($1.00, rummage sale in the market.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tomorrow I have to return a book, Catching Fire, to the library that I'd forgotten I'd even put myself on the waitlist for and there is still a long line so it won't be renewable and it's just mean to keep a book you know someone else is waiting for.  (That was even a question/answer in the Sunday Times Magazine ethicist column.)  I only started reading it once my break had begun, which conicided with the last few days before its due date and if it were a better book I'd have already finished it.  Not that it is a bad book--it's the sequal to The Hunger Games, a book I read for my YA Lit class last fall--it's just not nearly as compelling.  90 pages to go and it has only now begun to get interesting.  The first 300 pages were a frustrating, repetative and plodding journey, however.  I found myself internally yelling, "Come on, already!  I get it; let's get this show on the road."  (Perhaps my readers feel the same when reading my prose... but I'm not being paid by a publishing company or charging others to read my possibly plodding text.)  I don't care who your target audience is, repeating information that has already been well-established can be an exasperating experience for the reader.  I GET IT!!!!  Despite thoroughly enjoying the first book of this trilogy (the final book is supposed to come out in August), I would never claim that Suzanne Collins is a great or even an original writer.  The Hunger Games had a good sense of pacing, character development and was an exciting dystopic novel for YAs easily enjoyed by older readers and mature younger kids.  (I haven't read the sci-fi books that have a similar plot, but I know that her book has been compared to several...)  But this second book... a little too much remember when and not enough what's going on NOW!  Still, like I said, it's now getting more interesting... 3/4 of the way through the book.   Le sigh.  Guess I'll be finishing that tonight when I'm done blah blah blahgging about how it's been a bit of a let down.

At least I can enjoy listening to Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs!  Marty Robbins just washes over a body in warm, dulcet tones, you know?  I've got to remember this when I'm feeling irritable, anxious, stressed, overwhelmed... spin a little "Big Iron" or "In the Valley" and all will be viewed in a less tense light.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Last Spring Break (Unless I failed Comps)

Still waiting on that whole pass/fail comps thing. Yup. Stiiiiiiiiiiiillllllllllllllllllllllll waiting...

Regardless, in honor of this, probably my last, spring break I took the Sunday bus to the Goodwill with high hopes for some 99 cent LP buying fun. 99 cents is an intensely satisfying price to pay for crazy, sentimental, omygoshican'tbelieveifoundthis, sowhatifthere'salittlescratchit'sonly99cents, ireallyonlywantitforthisonesong, mayaswellgiveitatry finds. Not that I had the extra funds for this little trip, but I took the 35 minute bus ride and threw caution to the wind, even ixnayed some of my choices in an effort to be financially responsible. $18 (not including tax) later, and 18 LPs--including three multiple record sets: Bach's Mass in B Minor and a set of Brandenburg Concertos, as well as Beethoven's Complete String Quartets, Vol. II. (At Lifelong, nee, Chicken Soup, they charge for each album, part of a set or no. sheesh.) Favorite find? Peter Schilling's U.S. release, Error in the System. One of those, omygoshican'tbelieveifoundthis coupled with ireallyonlywantitforthisonesong finds. Yes, the Hollister Elementary 4th, 5th and 6th grades combined ski strip to Pomerelle return bus journey remains a vivid, wonderful memory: all 30, or so, of us singing along to "Major Tom (Coming Home)" at the tops of our lungs. Every single kid on that bus. It was glorious. 14 additional fantastic finds, too, but the Schilling album was just random and something I thought I'd never run into for such a deal. I could see thumbing through a record store's inventory and paying at least $6 for it, but certainly not VG+ condition and 99 cents!!!! Now, if I could only be so lucky with some Replacements albums...

Ok, and I admit I bought a couple of records yesterday at the Value Village ($1.99/ea., unless otherwise marked) but I couldn't pass these up. Came home with Rick Springfield's first album, Working Class Dog, because it has "Jessie's Girl" on it, and Bryan Adam's Reckless. Just about every song on that one was a hit single. Holy cow, he was popular. Holy cow, I love pop songs. I like to think that I have a discerning palette and can tell the difference between a great, well-crafted pop song and schlock. Don't we all? But come on!!! Jessie's Girl?!!!! Omigosh it is good. I mentioned my find to an acquaintance and not only did he concur, but he also noted its ideal placement in that lofty tradition of rock/pop songs whose subject matter is longing for your best friend's girl.

This used record buying thing is a bit of a disease. Or an addiction. Both, I guess. I can talk myself out of looking for weeks at a time and then I'll be innocently passing the Village (note that this is said with an arch, pseudo French accent and not to be confused with any neighborhood in that eastern city where the bohemians used to live.) and think, I'll just take a look. Can't hurt. Mostly, it's the same albums I've gone through 50 times. But then there is something new. Something I haven't seen before. Something desirable and in non-scratched condition. Once I am reminded of the thrill of buying a used record, then I want to go around to all the G'wills and Villages and any other second hand store I can think of. Record stores, too, but they tend to be a bit pricier and though I do not begrudge them their price points, it's more fun to pay less for the whoohooican'twaittogethomeandputthison discoveries.

***The links are to You Tube videos of the songs mentioned, but I'm not 100% sure they'll stay active. If not, just search 'em out in that crazy You Tube universe yourself.